Every article about your business is a whole lot of money you don’t have to spend on advertising.
You’ll also have the chance to reach potential customers who might not otherwise know your business.
Journalism consumers are also more engaged than people seeing advertisements. They’re choosing to read that article, or watch that TV news spot, rather than being subjected to an advertisement. That can help sway a future customer to think positively about your business — rather than simply knowing its name, as they might from an ad.
Prominent articles in mainstream publications can even help you get a page on online encyclopedias like Wikipedia, which can increase your reach further.
Remember that Wikipedia has a high bar for edits these days, with an active community of watchful eyes. You’ll need notable references to land a page, like the references shown in Steve Streit’s entry here.
Ways to Get Your Business Free Press
1. Be a Source
Journalists are always looking for expert voices for their stories. Oftentimes they have an angle they want to get across, but because of their objectivity, they can’t say it themselves.
If you’re an expert on any subject matter — or if you can market yourself as one — you could land a quote in a newspaper, or even an interview on live TV.
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a free, online service that connects experts to journalists. It’s also totally free. Just watch your inbox for those requests and respond to the ones that interest you.
2. Reach out to Relevant Reporters
Journalists receive dozens, sometimes hundreds of press releases every day. Don’t waste your time spamming every inbox you can think of.
Narrow down the audience for your email to a handful of reporters who report on your space (or “beat,” as they call it), then send a friendly note introducing yourself and what you do.
3. Form a Relationship With One or More Reporters
Maybe you’ve landed a spot in a story with HARO, or you’ve found another way to land a spot in an article or on an interview.
After you’re finished an interview, privately tell the reporter what a nice time you had, and note that you’re available to chat on the subject in the future. You can even ask about upcoming stories or topics they’re looking to cover, and potentially suggest ideas.
Journalists love to have regular sources they can turn to, instead of cold-emailing new ones every time. It just makes everyone’s life a lot easier.
There are many ways you can get free press for your business. Not all of them are great ideas — the local paper might mention your company if you rob a bank, for instance — but many are free, easy ways to pique the attention of journalists, and their dedicated reader base.
Just remember: journalists hate to feel like they’re getting the hard sell. If you’re going to pitch a specific story, take it easy. Let them decide if it’s worth pursuing, and you’ll find yourself in front of the public’s eyes in no time.